Aust shares fall ahead of key wage, jobs data readouts

·4-min read
Steven Saphore/AAP PHOTOS

The local share market has finished lower following the release of hawkish Reserve Bank minutes and ahead of important jobs and wage data that could determine if interest rates keep rising.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Tuesday closed down 32.4 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 7,234.7, its biggest move since May 8 after days of quiet trading.

The broader All Ordinaries fell 36.4 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 7,424.1.

The losses were the worst for the ASX in almost two weeks - although that isn't saying much.

"It's really been the case for a couple of weeks now that we've seen very little movement in markets in either direction," CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian told AAP.

He attributed the losses in part to underwhelming Chinese economic data released on Tuesday, as well as the Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer confidence survey that showed sentiment dropping in May to just above the "dismal" levels last seen in March, which in turn were the worst since the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak.

"Probably no surprise that, for the most part, consumers aren't feeling great," said Mr Daghlian, blaming their sour mood on the surprise rate hike at the start of the month and disappointment over the federal budget.

Also on Tuesday, minutes from that May 2 meeting struck a hawkish tone, revealing Reserve Bank of Australia board members had discussed the upside risks of inflation and the possibility of further hikes.

"Members also agreed that further increases in interest rates may still be required, but that this would depend on how the economy and inflation evolve," the minutes read.

NAB economist Tapas Strickland said the minutes indicated the RBA's July meeting was "live" and a rate hike in June couldn't be ruled out if Wage Price Index data came in above expectations.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is set to release that March quarter data on Wednesday, with the RBA currently forecasting 0.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter growth.

The ABS will also release labour force data for April on Thursday.

"The stronger they are, the more likely markets are to get concerned about a rate hike next month," Mr Daghlian said, referring to the jobs and wages figures.

"So that's going to be very much one to watch, and it's perhaps not surprising that markets have been a little on edge ahead of those two important updates."

Every sector of the ASX except for mining finished lower on Tuesday, with consumer staples the biggest loser, dropping 1.2 per cent.

Woolworths fell 1.4 per cent, Coles subtracted 0.9 per cent and Treasury Wine Estates retreated 1.6 per cent.

James Hardie helped bolster the materials sector, soaring 8.3 per cent to a nine-month high of $36.80 after the wall and floor building products company announced a 12 per cent rise in full-year net profit to $US512m ($A765m).

Alluding to dynamic market conditions in the global building industry, CEO Aaron Erter said James Hardie was "controlling what we can control".

"This is about being agile and adaptive," he said.

Elsewhere in the sector, BHP finished up 0.5 per cent to $44.08, Rio Tinto dipped 0.2 per cent to $108.77 and Fortescue fell 0.4 per cent to $20.30.

In the banking sector, Westpac, NAB and ANZ were all flat, while CBA dropped 0.9 per cent to $97.59.

In tech, Life360 rose 11.7 per cent to a six-month high of $6.30 after the location-sharing company announced it had reached adjusted profitability a quarter ahead of expectations, with first-quarter revenue up 34 per cent to $68.1m.

Cettire reversed its early gains and closed down 4.3 per cent to $1.785 despite the luxury online retailer announcing sales revenues for the four months to April 30 were up 122 per cent to $141.3m, compared to the same time last year.

"Cettire is rapidly growing share in a large and growing global market, which benefits from the structural shift to online," founder and CEO Dean Mintz said.

The Australian dollar was buying 66.68 US cents, from 66.82 US cents at Monday's ASX close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished on Tuesday down 32.4 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 7,234.7.

* The broader All Ordinaries dropped 36.4 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 7,424.1.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 66.83 US cents, from 66.82 US cents at Monday's ASX close

* 90.79 Japanese yen, from 90.89 Japanese yen

* 61.41 Euro cents, from 61.51 Euro cents

* 53.46 British pence, from 53.58 British pence

* 106.98 NZ cents, from 107.44 NZ cents